1 Corinthians 1

  • 1Corinthians 1:1 Paul, called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God, and Sosthenes our brother,
  • 2 unto the church of God which is at Corinth, even them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ in every place, their Lord and ours:

This is a letter from Paul and Sosthenes to the church of God in Corinth. He calls this church sanctified believers, saints and those that call upon the name of the Lord.

Saints are all believers and not just those made into saints by a certain church affiliation. We become saints when we receive Jesus Christ as savior and become born again by God's spirit. This includes all believers whether they are man, woman, boy, girl, rich, poor, clergy, laity and beggar. The true church is a body of believers in Jesus Christ. It is a body of called out ones. Those called out of the world and into Christ. Those buildings we use to worship in are really not the church but a place of worship for the church. The church or assembly are the believers themselves.

Christ is the only way of salvation and although God will use individual assemblies or groups of people who are filled with God's spirit to bring souls to Jesus Christ, the churches themselves are not the means of salvation. One can find salvation through Jesus Christ with or without the assistance of a church or body of believers. I've heard testimonies of those who found Jesus Christ by reading the bible, or being alone and God's Holy Spirit somehow gets through to them with no other person around. In other words, a person does not have to be a member of my particular church denomination to be saved from sin and be granted eternal life. This is not to take away the importance of a body of believers gathering together to worship God, teach, exhort and pray together. That is a necessity to spiritual growth and strength. 

We are sanctified in Jesus Christ. Sanctify means: Be made holy, consecrated or set apart for sacred services.

I believe the term here can be taken to mean "to make holy". The blood of Jesus cleanses us and makes us holy.

The word sanctifies and makes holy. The blood makes holy the word makes holy. Jesus is the word made flesh. He makes holy those that receive Him. Then by daily reading the word and receiving the word we are sanctified by that word.

  • John 17:17 Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.

We do not hear that much about sanctification any more but it has two meanings and I believe both can apply. One means to make holy and the other means to set apart for holy use.  

  • 1Corinthians 1:3 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Two persons but one God. They are in complete unity and purpose. God the Father and God the Son. Both God but one. They do not act separately from one another but are in complete mind and accord.

  • John 17:20 Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word;
  • 21 That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.

We are to be one in unity and truth like God and the Son is in unity.

This does not mean that we are to be in unity with those that are not walking in the spirit and in truth. We can't be one with those that are contrary to the truth. God broke up the false unity at the tower of Babel. If unity is not based on true doctrine of the written word and the true spirit  that comes from God, it isn't the unity we need.

  • 1Corinthians 1:4 I thank my God always concerning you, for the grace of God which was given you in Christ Jesus;
  • 5 that in everything ye were enriched in him, in all utterance and all knowledge;

Once we come to Christ for salvation, we are to seek the knowledge of God and be enriched by the word of God that we may begin to communicate with others the word of truth. Also our reaction to our brothers and sisters in the Lord is another wonderful thing we can be thankful for. We are not alone.

  • 1Corinthians 1:6 even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you:
  • 7 so that ye come behind in no gift; waiting for the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ;

The gifts of the spirit are given to us to edify the church and increase in the word, truth and in things that further the gospel. They did not stop after the apostles died off. They are to continue. They are not given as a side show or to exalt a particular man or ministry. They are given to bring people to Christ and then to edify the believers. The glory belongs only to Jesus Christ. The gifts are never given to make us more spiritual or more holy than another believer. They are not given only to the clergy. They are for the whole church and God can use anyone who is a true follower of Jesus.

  • 1Corinthians 1:8 who shall also confirm you unto the end, that ye be unreproveable in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.
  • 9 God is faithful, through whom ye were called into the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord.
  • 10 Now I beseech you, brethren, through the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfected together in the same mind and in the same judgment.

Naturally we can assume Paul meant that we all speak the same things but those same things should be the word and the truth. I'm sure his meaning was not that we strive for unity even if we had to compromise the truth. God surely would not want us to be in unity with lies. 

  • 1Corinthians 1:11 For it hath been signified unto me concerning you, my brethren, by them that are of the household of Chloe, that there are contentions among you.
  • 12 Now this I mean, that each one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos: and I of Cephas; and I of Christ.
  • 13 Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptized into the name of Paul?

We are not to be followers of men but of Christ. Paul and Apollos were both of the same mind and one accord in Jesus Christ, so division into different camps was strongly opposed seeing that Paul and Apollos were not divided. Although Christians should strive for unity in the spirit, we don't have to join one particular organization with one head like the overseer or pope. We don't have to be the same in that sense. We can have unity of purpose and have peace but we don't have to all be Church of God, Baptist or Catholic. It is okay to have separate local churches that are independent of one another. In fact that is better than all joining one group because it keeps us humble and dependent upon the Lord. 

If however, Paul preached salvation through Jesus Christ and someone else preached salvation by keeping the law of Moses, then they could not have had unity. We can't be in unity by any false doctrine but we must strive for love and unity in the spirit and in truth.

  • 1Corinthians 1:14 I thank God that I baptized none of you, save Crispus and Gaius;
  • 15 lest any man should say that ye were baptized into my name.
  • 16 And I baptized also the household of Stephanas: besides, I know not whether I baptized any other.
  • 17 For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not in wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made void.
  • 18 For the word of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us who are saved it is the power of God.

If you take a highly educated person of the world who does not know Jesus Christ and has a heart that is not seeking Him, they will consider the preaching of being saved from sin as being a little foolish. That is why it is easier for a child to understand because they can exercise faith easier.

Paul was not making light of water baptism in this passage, just emphasizing the importance of not looking to him instead of Christ for salvation and leadership. Jesus is the source of our salvation, not Paul in other words. Paul was a vessel of the Holy Spirit to preach the gospel but he wasn't the one that saved the lost and brought one into salvation. He would rather not baptize anyone than have them following him as a person exalted more than any other apostle or teacher.

  • 1Corinthians 1:19 For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, And the discernment of the discerning will I bring to nought.

God's wisdom confounds the wisdom of the wise or those with worldly wisdom. Sometimes I even laugh at the statements so called educational people make in favor of evolution. I do not see them as wise but stupid. They do not consider so many things like the conscience, what makes us different from animals? Why man can invent computers for instance and animals cannot?

  • 1Corinthians 1:20 Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?

They are as the prophet Daniel says, "Ever learning but never able to come to the knowledge of truth." They keep learning and never find out what truth is.

  • 1Corinthians 1:21 For seeing that in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom knew not God, it was God's good pleasure through the foolishness of the preaching to save them that believe.

God chose the foolishness of preaching to save the lost and that has not changed. So many are trying to win souls in every other way except the simple gospel and preaching. We can't have a huge program to attract people to our churches and then sneak the gospel in little by little hoping some might be saved. Every minute counts, they must be given the gospel the minute they come in the door of any church. The churches that do that are alive spiritually. I'm not talking about big numbers but those that are spiritually alive are those that keep the simplicity of the gospel and the word of God the most important part of their ministry.

  • 1Corinthians 1:22 Seeing that Jews ask for signs, and Greeks seek after wisdom:

Jews were given signs and wonders but they still did not believe. Signs and wonders are great but they do not always come. Sometimes there are days, weeks or months when we do not see miracles for some reason. We need the word in our innermost being all the time. The word will keep us from returning to sin. Signs and wonders come plenty of times around people of faith, but there are times when we go through trials and tests where we do not see the miracles at least we do not see them visibly. I think miracles happen that we don't always see many times. Signs are wonderful to convince unbelievers of the truth of the gospel but the word stays with us continually. 

Greeks want the wisdom of the world, science, facts and other things. In doing so many sometimes miss the ingredient called faith which is needed to be saved from sin.

"You must be born again," Jesus said. Are we too full of worldly wisdom to understand that?

  • 1Corinthians 1:23 but we preach Christ crucified, unto Jews a stumbling block, and unto Gentiles foolishness;
  • 24 but unto them that are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.

Its God's will that all believe and are saved but only a few exercise the faith God gives when the Holy Spirit convicts us of sin.

  • 1Corinthians 1:25 Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men.

Letting go of our own so-called knowledge and trusting in the greater knowledge of God is not easy but necessary to enter into the holy things God has in store for us who believe. We have access to so many good things if only we would simply believe. I'm not talking of material things even though God promises to care for us. I'm talking of deep things of God that nothing in this world can even compare to.

  • Isaiah 64:4 For since the beginning of the world men have not heard, nor perceived by the ear, neither hath the eye seen, O God, beside thee, what he hath prepared for him that waiteth for him.

Let us get our minds off what material value we can get from God and concentrate on the true riches which the world can never receive.

  1. salvation
  2. eternal life
  3. forgiveness of sins
  4. cleansing from sin
  5. living water (the holy Spirit)
  6. Christ dwelling in us.
  7. comfort
  8. peace
  9. Joy
  10. things we do not know yet like Isaiah 64:4 mentions.

If we only are concerned with asking God for the things of this life, we are robbing ourselves of the true riches.

  • 1Corinthians 1:26 For behold your calling, brethren, that not many wise after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called:

The gospel is given to them but they are too high and mighty to receive it so naturally God can't call them into ministering the word and partaking of the spirit of God.

God chooses men who we may never think worth choosing. He sees what we can't see. He may choose a child, a poor man, a slave, an uneducated person, a publican or what we may see as the scum of the world. Yet again He sometimes chooses a person of great importance as far as the world sees it, like the president, a king or some rich person with great wealth. We can't limit God but in His sight we are all the same.

  • 1Corinthians 1:27 but God chose the foolish things of the world, that he might put to shame them that are wise; and God chose the weak things of the world, that he might put to shame the things that are strong;

The Pharisees probably saw the apostles as poor uneducated fishermen. Perhaps they thought that, surely God would not choose such as they were if Jesus was Messiah.

  • 1Corinthians 1:28 and the base things of the world, and the things that are despised, did God choose, yea and the things that are not, that he might bring to nought the things that are:
  • 29 that no flesh should glory before God.

If God chose the rich, highly esteemed and educated, we might think it is by their own merits that they were chosen. God chooses the weak so that they will have to rely completely on His Holy Spirit for their direction. When they speak words of wisdom, it causes men to marvel because they could not do it without the spirit of God. Being chosen by God can happen to anyone: Rich, poor, young, old, those despised by the elitist, or any ethnic background.

  • 1Corinthians 1:30 But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who was made unto us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption:

Through Jesus we become wise, righteous, sanctified and are redeemed from sin. All this is not by our own works but because of His unmerited favor that He gives to those who simply believe in Him. To really believe in Christ is to renounce our past ways and past sins and receive Him into our lives to make all things new.

We have to recognize that we alone cannot make heaven and we alone cannot be forgiven of sins. We have to see that truth that we have to lay aside all our own works and accept the work Christ did on our behalf when He willingly laid down His live and paid the price for our sins.

He suffered and died that we might receive Him and live.

  • 1Corinthians 1:31 that, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.

We have no reason to boast and exalt one person above another because we have nothing that we were not given by God when He saw our simply faith in Jesus Christ. *DJC*

1 Corinthians 2

Corinthian Index


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